By Bonifacio Taban Kuich
September 28, 2013 (BENTIU) – The council of ministers in South Sudan’s Unity state have approved 403,022 South Sudanese Pound (SSP) meant for the purchases of new equipments for the state radio.
The decision was reached during its extraordinary session held on Friday, in a response to proposal presented by state minister of information and communication.
The proposal, minister Nyilep John Dak said, was to have the station premises renovated and new equipments purchased for operations.
Half of the fund, she exclusively told Sudan Tribune, will go for purchasing equipments for the radio station while the rest will be used for office restructure.
The fund will be released when the state budget is tabled before the assembly next Friday, the minister disclosed.
The renovation, according to the information minister, will be handled by the ministry of physical infrastructure, while the finance ministry will be in charge of the procurement process.
The state-owned Bentiu FM 99, which also airs on Medium Wave 558KHZ forcefully, closed down last year, after it become extremely costly to run the station.
Lack of equipments and inadequate fuel supply were some of the bottlenecks to the smooth operation of the radio, which played a key role in sensitizing people in the run-up to the 2011 referendum.
Tap Mark Diu, one of the radio staff, told Sudan Tribune said the fund approved may not be enough to buy all equipments needed.
He also accused some officials of allegedly mismanaging funds initially meant for the operation of the state-owned radio.
The information minister, in a separate interview, said her aim was to transform the mass media in to a medium for sensitizing state citizens.
Also underway, she revealed, is a plan to have more journalists in the state trained with skills that will enable them do work professionally
Most employees of the radio, a source at the information ministry told Sudan Tribune, are reportedly not professionally qualified, which makes it easy for government to downplay their demands.